Deep Midnight Perfumes – Game of Thrones Inspired Samples

Another review for the lovely shop Deep Midnight Perfumes!  This time I am reviewing the Game of Thrones Inspired set of samples.  I have to preface this by saying I’ve only read 2 of the books and watched the first episode of the show.  In my defense, I have small children and some things are not appropriate for their eyes to see and their ears to hear.  I do, however, hear regular updates from my husband who has both read the books and watched the show, so I have some idea of these concepts.

IMG_5172
photo by smellallthethings

Raven Boy was inspired by Bran Stark and has notes of Oakmoss, earthy musk, tobacco leaf, sage, dark vanilla sugar, amber, aged oak and background florals notes of iris and damask rose.  Ooh, this is deep and dark, beautifully done.  On my skin the dark vanilla sugar and the aged oak have melded into one.  The sage is not very noticeable – I only get a hint here and there.  Tobacco leaf and oakmoss and that beautiful earthy musk is giving this a greenish-brown feel.  The iris and damask rose are not prominent and only serve to lift a little and give a hint of sweetness that’s been rounded out.  This is dark, like a dream where the edges are fuzzy and the only thing in sharp relief is what you have your inner eye turned upon.  This blend is unisex, but with a slight masculine lean.  Overall the scent stays close to the skin, like a dream fog.

Little Dove is a olfactory representation of Sansa Stark with notes of linden blossoms, lilac, and lily, are mixed with delicious arctic berries, and nuances of violet, apple, and soft, creamy musk then wrapped up in sweet green notes of willow and bamboo.  You don’t see bamboo too often in notes but it’s one I love and I am drawn to it when I find it.  Doesn’t always work out, but it’s fun in the mean time!  In the vial you get that wet and green bamboo, some of the apple, and a lot of floral.  On my skin this is softly sweet, slightly green, and a touch dewy.  There is something that keeps wanting to go a bit “sex” on my skin.  Ahh, it’s mellowed in the last 5 minutes.  The arctic berries have a touch of frost on them, but are otherwise red and juicy.  This is a beautiful fragile yet fragrant scent – soft, beguiling, sweet, and innocent.

Faceless Girl is inspired by Arya Stark with notes of cedarwood, black amber, lavender, cassis, olive leaf, cassia bark, and patchouli are softened up with notes of tonka bean, sandalwood, ylang ylang, rose otto and violet.  In the vial this is a deep dark lavender with some gorgeous patchouli.  On my skin the cedarwood and cassis/cassia bark come out with a touch of sandalwood and ylang ylang.  The rose otto is fighting for attention but that calms down after a bit thankfully.  There is a definite oriental vibe about this blend with a hint of something reminding me of a darker fougère.  The notes are so well blended now that I’m having a hard time picking them out.  Overall I get a very shadowed vibe, strong yet feminine, only slightly floral and this is reminding more of early Arya when she was still being forced into being proper and feminine and her life hadn’t been touched by so much death.

Snow Wolf is meant as a representation of Jon Snow with notes of Cedarwood, leather, rosemary, dark woods, black amber, and a touch of cool, frosty mint.  In the vial this is leather and mint.  On my skin I still get some of that cool and crisp peppermint, but it isn’t strong or overpowering.  It takes a little bit but the woods come out with a hint of leather.  I’m not really getting any rosemary.  This is masculine and almost gritty in feel.  I know there’s no steel or metal in the blend, but the combination of the mint and the leather is giving off that feeling.  You can almost feel the heavy leather on your back keeping you warm in the bitter cold.

Stormborn has the pleasure of being inspired by Daenerys Targaryen (yes I copy/pasted because I would’ve butchered the spelling) whose notes include Dragons blood, oud wood, patchouli, jasmine, desert earth, cardamom, and moss.  The dragon’s blood is very strong and is unlike any dragon’s blood from any company I’ve ever tried before.  Instead of being either floral, or super spicy floral, this is a soft and gentle floral with just a touch of spice, which could actually be coming from the cardamom.  You get the jasmine and the oudh.  The patchouli is mixing with the desert earth to give a golden yet dry feel to the blend.  Overall this is powerful and comanding – more unisex than feminine, and keeps trying to tip to something kind of boozy.

Valhalla Soap Co. – Sample Sets

With my last order, I nabbed two more pixie packs full of more wonderful scents!  Valhalla Soap Co. has also recently released their Spring scents and a new cocoa body butter lotion that can be shipping during those pesky summer months, and Sif’s leave-in conditioner and de-tangling spray.

IMG_5128
photo by smellallthethings

I’m kicking this off with one of the scents that soooo many have raved about on the facebook page – Oak, Ash & Thorne.  Its notes include barrel aged Bourbon Vanilla, embodied by ancient cedarwood resin and dark Indonesian patchouli, softened by rich, warm amber and a touch of exotic sandalwood. Warm, golden, and resinous describes this perfectly.  The patchouli isn’t overwhelming as it sits in the back giving some support.  Amber and the barrel aged bourbon vanilla are the stars of this blend with the sandalwood and cedarwood rounding it out nicely.  This almost has an ancient feel to it, as though this scent has weathered the ages and stood the test of time.  There is the barest hint of sweetness but this is all about the amber and woods.  After a while, this is still very true to the initial impressions I had.  This has very little morphing as it dries.

Pendragon’s Passion has some passionate followers and its notes comprise of deep, sultry and fiery notes of dragon’s blood slither around warm amber and sweet blood orange while resting on an earthen floor of dark patchouli.  This magical blend opens with a sweet blast of blood orange, freshly peeled and just being squeezed as you inhale.  Dragon’s blood is a note that some people love or hate or even love to hate.  Personally, I enjoy the floral version, but not so much the spicy version.  This blend uses the more floral version – but it’s that deeply red floral that almost feels resinous along with that amber.  The patchouli is the same from Hedonistic – the non-hippy slightly orange feeling patchouli and by far my favorite patchouli I’ve had the pleasure of smelling.  The longer this sits on my skin the more it warms up into this slinky and almost seductive scent.  Blood orange is still apparent, but it’s more the after effects and less the super fresh and juicy bit like it was in the beginning.

Norseman has notes that include Balsam Fir, Juniper, Cedar, Clove and Blood Orange.  From my first order I’d received a small soap sample and my kids and I all enjoyed the scent and the soap so I had to get the oil too!  First sniff I get lots of fir and juniper with a touch of cedar.  The fir has a huge throw and I can smell it just typing this out.  As it dries I get a touch of the clove with its signature spice scent and just a hint of blood orange, but it seems it’s more of a dried orange scent than fresh.  The juniper gives that antique scent I associate with it.  Overall this is a very masculine coniferous forest – strong and lasting.  In the soap I got more of the cedar, clove, and blood orange whereas the oil has more fir and juniper.

Rain Dance (also known as Ice Giant) lists notes of an earthy all natural blend of citrus and mint. Peppermint comes to the fore front of the blend – but not the sharp kind – that good peppermint that is equal parts melty vanilla and minty peppermint.  This blend is cool and it really does have an hint of something earthy in it.  Unfortunately I’m not a fan of mints in general unless they are not the star of a blend, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t an awesome blend in its own right.

IMG_5129
photo by smellallthethings

7 Sins From Sunday is another (there’s a lot) fan favorite over at Valhalla with notes of jasmine and lavender tangled around exotic amber,vanilla and sandalwood with a whisper of earthy patchouli. Finishing with sweet lingering notes of dark cocoa bean.  Not sure if I’m having a bad skin chemistry day or what, but in the vial I got some nice jasmine and lavender with a touch of vanilla but on my skin … dryer sheets.  And it’s not strong or anything, more of a used dryer sheet where there’s barely any smell left.  And now it’s gone.  Either I have a blind spot or my skin eats it.  So weird.  I’m sure it’s quite lovely though from the hint I got from the vial!  I think I need to see about getting this in a wax melt or soap or something.

Okay, so that was weird.  It took about 15 minutes (and me walking outside in the warm sun) for any real scent to show up.  But now … wow!  7 Sins is soft, snuggly, and warm.  It’s close to the skin and the florals aren’t overwhelming at all, but are rather like their scent is floating in the window on a warm breeze.  The sandalwood and vanilla are soft and sweet and I wouldn’t have guessed there was patchouli in there either.  I’m not getting any cocoa, thankfully, as I’m not a chocolate scent lover.

Battle Kry is comprised of sea spray, the familiar smell of leather breast guards and polished steel. In the vial this is soft and worn leather while on my skin that salty sea spray takes over.  It is a briny scent, oceanic to the extreme, with hints of leather and that metallic tang of steel.  All the notes ebb and flow so that not one takes the lead for long, just like the waves of an ocean.  Eventually the super saltiness melts away and you’re left with the memory of the sea clinging to your blade and clothes.

Sandalwood has no notes listed, but it’s been in a lot of blends I’ve loved from Valhalla so I’m excited to have this to use alone or layer.  I love how simple yet complex this scent is.  It is golden and warm, woody yet it has a sweet undertone to it that is unique.  This is raw and untouched sandalwood, freshly harvested, still a little moist, but it dries as the oil dries on your skin so that you’re left with the beautiful fragrant wood.  Definitely a must and one I could wear all by itself or it would layer very well with other blends.

Shieldmaiden has notes of citrus and florals on a woody background. Top notes of orange, and watery greens with a middle of jasmine and rose on a bed of juniper, patchouli and vanilla.  This is a very fresh and clean scent in the vial however my skin chemistry is turning this into fabric softener (and actually the exact scent of the brand I use … so that’s good?  at least I like it?) and I’m not sure what is doing it.  It might be the rose.   Rose and I have had quite a few years to work with each other and only a few types of rose work on my skin and if a company changes where they source their rose EO I can usually tell because my skin will react different.  Yeah I think the rose is doing it – it’s screaming at me and it’s only getting louder the longer I wear it.  Oh well, can’t have them all I suppose.

Nocturne Alchemy – Spring 2016 Samples & Seth’s Super Secret Scent

Man that’s a lot of S’s in that title.  Say it 10 times fast!

Anyway, what we have today are scents from Nocturne Alchemy/VApothecary. or NAVA for short.  They are a wonderful company with lovely owners who enjoy all things Egypt … and cookies.

IMG_5003
photo by smellallthethings

So I may have already sniffed and purchased full size bottles of Evening Star and Mysteries of Udolpho (which came with cute scarab beads and the sample of Seth’s Super Secret Scent) because I had a mini-freak out that the scents were coming down today.  They aren’t, but that didn’t stop me from ordering them!  Decants were purchased via Ajevie, again.  She’s awesome!

Evening Star is first up, since you know I already bought one, with notes of Crushed Jasmine and Crushed Violet, Egyptian Rose de Mai Absolute, Nutmeg, California Redwood, Raw Papaya Seed, Arabian Cedarwood, Bastet’s White Amber, Champagne Musk and Chrysanthemum star petals.  In the vial it’s all jasmine and violet with a touch of rose.  On my skin, however, the scents blossom.  The redwood and cedarwood give this blend a nice grounding place to layer on top of.  The nutmeg is almost undetectable but I believe it is what is giving a “warm” glow to this.  Bastet’s (one of the perfumers at NAVA) White Amber gives a feeling of the sky to me – it’s ethereal and floating.  The champagne musk is soft and almost fuzzy in feel.  Overall this is a soft, sweet, and flowing blend that makes me think of laying in the grass looking up at the night sky.

The Mysteries of Udolpho is next and this one blew me away with its notes of Venice Violet infused Bergamot Tea, Castle Oakmoss, White Amber, Vanilla Crystal Musk and a drop of Italian Galbanum Incense accord.  So, so, so good.  Warm and spicy with a hint of sweetness.  Normally I don’t compare or mention a scent smelling like one from a different perfumery because I don’t think its fair to the perfume house I’m currently reviewing.  However, what this smells like is a discontinued scent from another house that will not be brought back.  It’s not an exact match (I did test my samples side by side), but it’s similar enough in feel that those that missed out (like me) on the other scent might be able to find something similar and possibly a new perfumery at the same time!  Win-Win right?  Enough already, I’m talking about Black Phoenix’s Fruminous Bandersnatch – so if you missed it and are hording your little stash, like me, get this – it’s awesome.  Udolpho is, as the name indicates, mysterious.  I honestly can’t go through and pick out the notes because if I hadn’t seen the note list I would’ve sworn there was carnation, amber, and maybe galbanum.  Oakmoss?  Bergamot tea?  Violet?  I can’t find those it’s so well blended.  This is warm and cozy and just amazing.  After a few hours this is a soft amber and vanilla scent with just a whisper of spice.

Pharaoh Anniversary is not part of the Spring Collection, but is instead part of the Studio Limited Collection, which has a chance to stick around a bit longer and even, sometimes, be re-stocked.  It’s notes are comprised of Water Lily, Heliotrope, Mimosa, Bergamot, Alexandrian Sea Salt, Amber and Musk. Anniversary blend brings the smokiness of NAVA ICONIC Arabian Oudh, NAVA Amber Resin Absolute, Frankincense Pure and White Myrrh of Aswan grown especially for our perfume company. Oh wow, this is gorgeous!  The water lily, heliotrope, and mimosa give this such a fragrant opening, soft and flowing.  And ICONIC!!  (No longer available notes are: Our Rose and Jasmine Oudh, more notably Rose Oudh. NAVA Oudh blend with Egyptian and Arabian White, Pink and Blood Rose Petals, Spanish Jasmine Grandiflorum, Egyptian Jasmine Absolute and Indian Jasmine Sambac. The Jasmine is a stabilizer for the rose and both botanica are the heart of this Oudh.)  NAVA does Oudh like no one else does Oudh.  This blend is at once flowing and resinous and truly a work of art.  I can smell the Nile, the floral gardens in the palace, the sand under my feet and the sun on my face.  It smells like a celebration on my skin.  The salt is barely there as to be non-existent.  Well, I know what’s going in my next order!  Mmm the longer this sits the more the ICONIC Oudh comes out.

Next is A Room With A View from the Spring Collection and it boasts notes of Florentine Frangipani, Essence of Florentine Violet, Italian White Musk, Plumeria Cream, Santalum, Italian Bergamot Tea Light Essence and Italian Cyprus infused Balsam wood. In the vile it’s all violet and plumeria cream (in the best way!) and on my skin the fragipani and white musk come out. It takes a minute but the santalum begins to warm up with a hint of cyprus and a soft touch of balsam.  The bergamot tea is giving it just the barest of hints of spice.  It always blows me away with how delicate and gentle some of these scents are when NAVA also does super good heavy incense and resin blends.  This is gorgeous.  It’s like an open window to the most lush of floral gardens.

Last, but most certainly not least, is Seth’s Super Secret Scent – Very Vanilla Crystalline Angel Cake!  No notes listed for this as it’s Seth’s own secret blend.  Sometimes he makes enough for full size bottles, sometimes just little teaser samples go out.  Typically these secret scents are sent out with update orders that were placed within a few days of a new update going live on the site.  Sometimes they are sent out until gone.  Just remember, I’m not a gourmand lover, and Seth is known for his gourmands.  In the vile I get a super buttery blast of vanilla cake.  On my skin it almost disappears!  I can barely get a hint of something resembling cake.  There’s a slight buttery vanilla note, but it’s so soft.  Boo!  It might be that I’ve gone nose-blind to it after the two stronger scents.  I’ll try again later and edit if it changes!

 

Arcana Soaps – Spring and Other Sundries

IMG_4940
photo by smellallthethings

Julia over at Arcana was kind enough to run a little sale where, if you purchased 3 or more scents from the Ebay page, you got a free 5ml of Vanilla Craves Spring!  Couldn’t pass that up, ya know.  Oh, and not shown is the backup bottle of Phoebus I got.  That’s one sexy blend right there.

First up, lets try the bottle that was so generously gifted, Vanilla Craves Spring.  It’s notes include: two gourmand vanillas, young honeysuckle, pink bubblegum, white amber, a hint of galbanum, and a single drop of sweet mint. Now, let me preface this review by stating I’m emphatically NOT a “foodie” or gourmand scent person.  I don’t enjoy smelling like food.  However, my skin seems to have a rather arbitrary line as to what crosses that “foodie” edge for me.  Sometimes I get surprised.  Vanilla Craves Terror was a surprise considering all the reviews I’d seen saying it leaned gourmand because it didn’t for me.

In the bottle Vanilla Craves Spring is all vanilla – beautiful, rich, and buttery.  It doesn’t hit that food edge … yet.  On my skin the galbanum comes out with a touch (and I do mean a touch – I wouldn’t have placed it if I didn’t know the notes) of the sweet mint and together they seem to reign in the overly foodie aspect of the vanilla.  The bubblegum is almost non-existent, which I think I saw on another review the same thing.  The honeysuckle is that beautiful and bright yellow scent that you associate with the onset of spring.  This blend is innocent to the extreme!  I can just see my daughter out playing in our yard, ice cream cone in hand, as she runs her hands over the honeysuckle.  Pure, unadulterated innocence tucked into a little 5ml brown apothecary bottle.  This … This scent just makes me happy, plain and simple.

(As an aside – I take hours if not days to write reviews sometimes so as to not go “nose-blind” to scents.  That being said, it’s now about 4 hours since I put on VCS and I’m like a little addicted I think.  I keep huffing the small spot and sighing happily.  I want to slather, but Yurt is on the other hand … I’ll likely wash Yurt off before too long and cuddle into some comforting Vanilla Craves Spring!  It taunts me with glorious whiffs as I move my hand.)

Next up we have Yurt – which, admittedly, is fun to say.  (Go on, say it out loud – you know you want to!).  Yurt’s notes consist of: glowing dragonsblood resin and cedarwood with hemlock, fir needle, juniper, and bonfire smoke.  Wowee – this is so different from the a fore mentioned VCS – where VCS is light and happy, Yurt is dark green, shadowed and maybe just a bit fierce. In the bottle this is all fir needle.  On my skin the bonfire smoke alights and the night is now glowing with the fierceness of fire.  There is a spiciness to this blend (dragonsblood maybe?  some companies are spicy, some are floral – this is my first foray into Arcana’s dragonsblood) and the wood is scorched (but not in a bad way? is there a good scorching?) the juniper gives the feeling of being in a coniferous forest.  The hemlock is bitter but it doesn’t overwhelm the blend like it can sometimes do.  Yurt is fire.  Yurt is forest.  Yurt is … the complete opposite of Vanilla Craves Spring.  Yurt is becoming slightly overwhelming.  Yurt is fun to say, but don’t use too much – a little goes a very, very long way.

Necklace Made of Tears  isn’t one of the spring scents, but the frankincense tears called my name.  Its notes consist of: Sticky spun sugar with frankincense tears, peach nectar, violets, lacrima water, and cardamom.  I have no idea what lacrima water is … and a google search turned up only one description from Scent for Thought that describes it as saline and slightly metallic.  I guess we’ll see what it does.  In the bottle it is water, peach and violets.  On my skin this lets the sugar and violets come out.  Normally I don’t “smell” a metallic note, instead I feel it or taste it on my tongue – and I’m getting that sensation.  The frankincense tears give a nice resinous base to this and the peach nectar has a juicy quality that almost makes my mouth water.  With each sniff I go back and forth on whether or not I like it.  One sniff gives an aquatic feel, and I typically don’t go for aquatic scents.  On the next sniff I get the frankincense tears, the violets, and a nice comforting sweetness which I adore.  Such a morpher!

And bringing up the end is Two Finger Ballet.  I’m really a 12 year old boy at heart and snort-laughed at the name.  The notes for this blend include: A delicate blend of French vanilla creme, white amber, sugared vanilla beans, caramel, and the smallest dab of opium.  Have I mentioned before I love opium?  And all that vanilla?  And amber?  Well, I do.

Just like with Vanilla Craves Spring, Two Finger Ballet smells like a rich, buttery vanilla in the bottle.  On my skin it smooths out and looses some of that buttery scent and the creme makes it more languid.  The opium adds to that sweet and languid feel.  Two Finger Ballet verges on being foodie, but doesn’t cross that line for me.  The caramel isn’t apparent, but seems to be adding a slightly smoky quality.  Oh man, this is an addicting scent as well.  I can see why it is so popular!

One Hand Washes The Other – Oil and Solid Perfumes

IMG_4936
photo by smellallthethings

I heard about One Hand Washes The Other through the Solstice Scents Facebook Group because of the scent Spellbound Woods.  Unfortunately, OHWTO didn’t have Spellbound Woods stocked in oil form, so I got the solid scent – which may not actually be a bad thing, mind you.  I’ve never used a solid scent before!

Of course I’m going to start with Spellbound Woods!  I’ve heard so many great things about Angela’s version (which is discontinued), that I just have to try!  The notes are listed as: A blend of Vanilla, Sandalwood, Amber, Cedarwood and the barest hint of a light Floral on the dry down. This is a solid scent in an oval tube and it raises and lowers just like chapstick.  The formula is creamy, soft and silky.  It rubs in nicely and leaves just this wonderful soft scent in its wake!  Amazing!  I put it on my pulse point on the inside of my wrists, then rubbed them together.  Seriously, this scent is super swoon-worthy!  It’s soft, slightly sweet, with a wonderful woody base to it.  The florals add to some of the sweetness and lift it up a touch, but it’s all about that vanilla, amber, and wood!  Truly beautiful!  I get the hype now – and I need more!

The Doctor Who fan in me wouldn’t let me pass up the scent Time Lord (notes: Aged Cedar and Sandalwood, Spiced Vanilla, Teak, Petitgrain, and Cardamom, with whispers of Rose, Oud, and Ginger.)  This smells like the 11th doctor to me.  Though I know very little of old Who (I know bad me!), so I could be wrong.  This is … well … timeless.  It’s old, very old, like 900 years old.  It has an antique smell to it.  But not that dusty attic antique, but one that has been polished and loved and displayed through the ages.  This does lean masculine in my opinion.  The spices in this are soft and not overpowering.  This scent is very, very well blended and really awesome in that it captures the timelessness of Time Lords.

And because I’ve been on a violet kick lately, I picked up a dram of Violette with notes of: Wood Violets, Leather, and Honeycomb. Hmm in the dram I get that new leather smell and I don’t usually dig new leather.  Whew!  On my skin it goes to a softer, more supple leather scent.  The violets are soft, silky, and on the edge of being powdery.  The honeycomb isn’t extremely noticeable.  I was hoping more for a beeswax, dusty type scent out of it, but it doesn’t detract.  It might be adding a touch of sweetness to the mix.  It’s a very nice scent, and I never would’ve thought to put violets and leather together, however I don’t believe this one is for me.

Lastly, I received two samples of solid scents.  One is Mermaid (Salt water, linden blossoms, muguet, carnation, white musk, with a base of driftwood and oakmoss) and the other is Beach Bum (Salt air, tuberose blooms, coconut, sweetgrass, tanning lotion, sand, sea, and sun).

Mermaid is up first and initial sniff gives a sweet blast of linden blossoms and white musk.  Very clean and bright!  On my skin the salt water comes out as does the muguet.  It honestly smells like there is a citrus note, like a bright yellow lemon, but that could be something else.  This is bright and clean and fresh smelling!

Beach Bum is different, still clean but the tuberrose is prominent on first sniff.  That tanning lotion … LOL!  It’s so true to life.  Hawaiian Life that is!  The coconut isn’t very strong, more like it’s in your drink next to you instead of on your skin.  This is bright, yet lazy.  Perfect for lounging on the sand and soaking up the sun!